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Mourning the Suburb

By James Caldwell | Published: March 10th, 2010

Every so often I get a last minute phone call for help from a friend. In this case Aleksandra needed a promotional poster for a symposium she was organizing to be held at the Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art. The topic was “Mourning the Suburb – A Symposium on Dwelling, in Transition”.

Mourning the Suburb Detail

Mourning the Suburb Detail

The symposium asked the question “how we know ‘the suburb’'” and aimed for a reflection on the legacy of the suburb through the concept of dwelling. “Dwelling” can have different meanings and in this case was understood not just as different types of architecture but as different relationships between subjects and space which have changed throughout history. For various reasons, this was a last minute project and the poster was needed ASAP.

With an understanding that this was to be a quick albeit whimsical last minute job, I accepted and went to work. After spending hours on the first skeletal iteration, Aleks emailed me with feelings of disappointment that it was not like she had imagined and that she needed it to be completely different. Yep, a true last minute project, no prep, no initial proposal and no state of common understanding before the work began. So after a few hours of back and forth about what she liked and was used to seeing I got back to work with what would end up being the final product.

Moral of the story? Even for a friend with a quick, last minute job it is always important to educate them to save you time in the end and produce what they need the first time. Next time…


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